Property news roundup: Poor legal work causing problems for homeowners
Plus mortgage arrears, search by Travel Time, buying alone, and a guide to building regulations in brief
Alex Johnson has been part of The Independent's online team since 2007. He has been writing about microarchitecture on his internationally-acclaimed Shedworking blog since 2006 and is the author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution. His latest book is Bookshelf, published by Thames & Hudson.
Thursday 08 May 2014
One in five legal complaints now made to the Ombudsman is about residential conveyancing which makes it the most complained about area of law, a new report reveals.
Chief Legal Ombudsman Adam Sampson says he is worried that a possible housing bubble may be at least partly responsible, putting pressure on lawyers to rush through house purchases to keep up with demand and consequently sacrificing quality of service.
Around 22 per cent of the residential conveyancing complaints received in the last year came from London and 17 per cent from the South East alone.
The report singles out problems with unpaid stamp duty as a particular issue with people receiving demands for thousands of pounds in unpaid fees plus interest because their lawyer had not made the necessary payments.
"It is concerning to see complaints from house buyers on the rise again," said Mr Sampson. "An improved housing market will inevitably be partly responsible, creating pressure through higher volumes of work, but I suspect there are a number of causes including procedural issues within firms and in some cases even fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, it is consumers who are paying the price.
"People deserve better and I want lawyers to ensure they aren’t leaving clients in the lurch. In the meantime anyone buying a house should seek confirmation of any payments entrusted to their lawyer before considering it a done deal."
Mortgages in arrears fell during the first three months of 2014, according to new figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
At 138,200 and 1.24 per cent, both the number and proportion of mortgages with arrears of more than 2.5 per cent of the mortgage balance were at their lowest level since 2008. At the end of March one in 400 mortgages had arrears equivalent to 10 per cent or more of the mortgage balance.
Search by travel time
Zoopla has added a new way of searching its website called Travel Time, allowing homehunter to look for properties based on the travel time from a chosen property to work, school, or any other location by train, bus, driving, cycling and walking.
Single homebuyers have to find an extra £24,000 to afford their first property, according to figures from Move with Us, the UK’s largest network of independent estate agents has revealed.
Figures from its survey of 175 estate agents across Britain show that couples aged between 21 and 40 are the most popular type of buyer, accounting for 45 per cent of the buying market. Single people, in any age group, make up a total of just under three per cent of buyers.
Using Office for National Statistics statistics for average wages, Move with Use estimates that the most a typical single homebuyer can borrow is £119,250. With the average national price of a flat currently at £158,872 and with a 10 per cent deposit, this leaves a shortfall of just under £24,000.
Robin King, Director at Move with Us said: "Many potential homeowners are reliant on the bank of mum and dad to make up the deficit. More of an effort should be placed on creating affordable housing. Shared ownership is a feasible government incentive that people who are struggling to afford a home should give serious consideration."
Properties down, sales up
There was a drop in new property coming onto the market in April for the fourth consecutive month according the the RICS, although 26 per cent more chartered surveyors reported increased agreed sales. The average number of homes sold per surveyor was 23, the highest since February 2008.
'Building Regulations in Brief' now in eighth edition
Written by Ray Tricker and Samantha Alford, this book has undergone a comprehensive revision to include all the latest amendments to Building Regulations and Planning Permission, an updated list of fees for planning consents, and provides guidance on the changes to permitted development rights in agricultural, business and residential buildings. It's published by Routledge.
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
Life & Style blogs
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...